The greatest strength of the 2021-22 Indiana women’s basketball roster, without a doubt, was the group’s chemistry as a team.
Players like Grace Berger, Mackenzie Holmes, Ali Patberg and Aleksa Gulbe played and grew together for years before taking the floor last season. They knew each other’s strengths, weaknesses and more. Add in a defensive nightmare like Nicole Cardaño-Hillary and you have a roster that kept Big Ten coaches up at night.
This offseason the team lost Patberg, Gulbe and Cardaño-Hillary. They immediately regained Patberg as a team and recruiting coordinator, but it’s not like she can suit up and run onto the floor if head coach Teri Moren needs her.
So, Moren responded by dipping into the transfer portal and recruiting from both high schools and internationally.
Her additions are as follows:
- F Alyssa Geary (Providence)
- G Sydney Parrish (Oregon)
- G Sara Scalia (Minnesota)
- G Henna Sandvik
- G Yarden Garzon
- G Lexus Bargesser
- F Lilly Meister
Geary, as a grad transfer, will look to potentially play a Gulbe-esque role or share minutes with Kiandra Browne. Moren understands what she has as a coach and has proven as much through the years. She finds what her players are best at and maximizes that.
After averaging 9.5 points, 4.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 1.1 blocks per game at Providence, Geary has more of a rounded game but may lack Gulbe’s ability to stretch a defense. And again, Browne is in the mix as well and gave Indiana valuable minutes on defense last season.
A former Indiana Miss Basketball and five-star recruit, Parrish elected to head to Oregon out of high school and spent two years with the Ducks before coming home and joining the Hoosiers this past summer. After averaging 6.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game last season, it’ll be interesting to see how Moren deploys her.
As stated above, Moren likes to maximize her players’ strengths and Scalia’s strength is very obvious: 3-point shooting. Scalia shot 41.3% from behind the arc last season, which would have easily made her the best shooter on last year’s Indiana roster.
Indiana’s high school recruits may need some time to develop, but don’t be surprised if its international players see minutes early in the season. Moren said she anticipates more use out of Indiana’s bench this season, which was Indiana’s largest flaw as the months went on.
Combine the incoming talent with the likes of Berger, Holmes, Browne and Chloe Moore-McNeil and Indiana has a roster that should be ready to compete in the Big Ten... on paper.
There’s no way of knowing for sure if chemistry will automatically follow, but Moren has coached in Bloomington long enough to show that she’s more than capable of putting together a team that’s pay flows well with one another.
In the event they don’t look in sync when the season begins, they’ll figure it out just as they did last year, learning to win while Holmes was out.
If the chemistry develops and Indiana can, in fact, rely on its bench more than last year, then this is a team to watch out for.